We herein report a facile and scalable approach to manufacturing optically transparent and heat-insulating films by incorporating hollow poly(methyl methacrylate) microcapsules into a transparent polymeric matrix. The microcapsule was prepared viaemulsion polymerization. The size of the microcapsules could be easily controlled from ∼1 to 3 μm by varying the polymerization time in a narrow size distribution. The microcapsules were then mixed with a UV-curable transparent liquid resin and cured by a subsequent light irradiation. The current approach could enhance the thermal barrier property of the films without a significant reduction in the optical transparency. The solid film possessing 30 wt% microcapsules, for example, exhibited a high visible light transmittance (∼80% as measured by UV-vis spectroscopy) and the thermal conductivity was reduced to 0.06 W mK−1, corresponding to 46% of the capsule free film. To quantify and verify this result, theoretical models describing a heat transfer in a hollow microsphere composite were used, and the model showed a good agreement with our experimental observations.

Explore further

RSC Advances